Brucellosis is an infectious disease caused by bacteria of the genus Brucella (B.). As the pathogen can be transmitted to humans by cattle (B. abortus), pigs (B. suis), sheep and goat (B. melitensis) as well as to a limited extent by dogs (B. canis), brucellosis is a zoonotic disease. Germany is recognized as officially free from notifiable bovine, porcine, ovine and caprine brucellosis. Main symptoms of brucellosis in animals are abort, premature birth or birth of dead, weak or poorly developed animals. Male animals often develop inflammatory changes of the genital tract, especially testes and epididymis. Main tasks of the Reference Laboratory are the support of the veterinary laboratories of the federal states by confirmation tests in case of positive results and the licensing and batch testing of diagnostics.
In the frame of the OIE reference laboratory we support of the international laboratories by confirmation tests and we organise laboratory training courses in diagnosis of brucellosis.
Infections of sheep with Brucella ovis are treated as a separate disease (ovine epididymitis) and are not covered by the provisions of the regulation on brucellosis.